Sometimes the road to your baby is much longer and more complicated that you had anticipated and desired. When this happens, you can get sucked into a ‘fertility vortex’, where it becomes all you think about, it impacts your ability to function and be present, and it becomes the lens through which you see the world.
When things don’t go as planned, it can be easy to allow feelings of fear, frustration, negativity, doubt, and hopelessness take over your perceptions and thoughts. You become a victim of your circumstance, and begin to suffer your experiences rather than living them. One proven antidote to these thoughts, feelings and experiences is gratitude. If you’re anything like me, you may be rolling your eyes and thinking “right, I’m soooo grateful that I’m going through this awful experience…”. I hear you, and I’ve been there. And, when I really did the research into the mind-body connection behind gratitude and gave it a real try, my eyes rolled right back into place and I stood corrected, so please hear me out.
When we focus on the problems we are encountering – the negative pregnancy test, the stats or recommendations we receive from a care provider, the frustrating cycle of trying so hard and starting from square one again– it can be so easy to allow our internal state to focus on the negative. When we focus on problems, our actions are driven from a problem-oriented mindset. We keep trying to figure it out and hyper-focus our efforts on the problem rather than on what we want. We’re addressing the ‘problem’ with the same mindset that created it, draining our life-force energy into a futile pursuit, and training our brains to become more and more hardwired to think about and perpetuate the problem. Not to mention how it makes us feel: when we focus on the problem or negative, we are filled with negative and low-vibe emotions that can easily spiral into anxiety. We’re more likely to take action that we’ll regret. I’m not suggesting we stuff our feelings down and adopt a mindset of toxic positivity; it’s important that you don’t judge or blame yourself for the feelings that come up. Instead, use them as an indicator of what is happening in your inner state. It’s also important to feel, process, and release the feelings that come up so that they don’t get stuck in our bodies and create even more dissonance. What I am suggesting though, is that this perpetual and consistent focus on the negative begins to influence our decision-making, actions and outcomes, manifesting more of the negative into our lives. Additionally, neuroscience tells us that we cannot get rid of negative thoughts, but that we can create new thought pathways based on positive thoughts that become more and more easy to access, and make the negative thought pathways smaller and less accessible to us.
This is where gratitude comes in as a powerful antidote: if what we focus on is aligned with what we truly desire, then shifting our thoughts, feelings and beliefs toward this is going to bring us so much farther than the cycle of negativity we get stuck in. Gratitude and appreciation are incredibly powerful tools for changing our inner state, and helping to redirect our thoughts and feelings toward what we do want. The Law of Attractions tells us that like attracts like, that what we focus on influences what we receive. That our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs – our internal state – attract into our reality and external world what is found internally. So much of our internal state is unconscious to us but has an enormous impact on how we think, feel, and act (and therefore our outcomes). When our internal state is not energetically aligned with what we want, we may make decisions or act in ways that do not support our desire, and then ultimately do not attract what we want. When we shift our focus away from what is wrong to what we desire, we (re-)align our energetic vibration with our desired outcomes instead. We start to retrain our mind to look for what is going well, and create new/enhanced neuropathways that cause us to think in this way more and more without any effort. Thinking in this manner also makes us feel more relaxed, helps to regulate our nervous system, and brings us away from worrying about the past and future and into the present.
These powerful changes don’t happen overnight, and although they require consistent practice, you’ll find that small changes stack up to great transformative changes. Starting small will help this new practice feel manageable. When it comes to fertility, you can start by expressing gratitude for your body, how hard it works, how much it does for you, and for it’s potential to create, nurture, and carry life. You may have cultivated new learning and wisdom along the way that has shifted your worldview, or helped you feel more aligned with your purpose. Perhaps you’re grateful for the partner who has walked this path with you. If these ideas feel like a stretch, think even more concretely – that you’re grateful to have a comfy bed to sleep in, that your feet carry you from point A to point B, that you’re your lungs breathe in air and your heart pumps blood. It can be whatever feels authentic to you right now, in the present moment. Remember, it becomes easier and easier the more you practice.
Here are a few practical tips for integrating gratitude into your day:
· Start Small: Start with the concrete and use your senses to support you. Be down-to-earth, and reasonable with yourself in whatever state you’re currently in.
· Movement and Nature: If you’re feeling mentally stuck, and can’t get your thoughts to a better place, move your body. Literally shake it if you want to – shaking it out (with or without music) and moving that energy and emotion can feel really good. Get outside in nature and go for a walk. Notice what appeals to you on your walk – a neighbour’s garden, the smell of fresh cut grass, a person walking a cute dog.
· Joy Rampage: Remember what brings you joy – don’t think too hard or stress about it, just try to name a few things that you know bring you joy. A nice cup of coffee on a Sunday morning, the wag of your dog’s tail, the smile on your partner’s face when they walk in a room, a piece of chocolate melting in your mouth. Use your senses and allow the thoughts to create feelings of joy that washes over your whole body like a warm shower.
· Apply the ‘Opposites’: Feeling down because you just got your period? Visualize yourself looking down at a positive pregnancy test. Feeling jealous because you just saw a woman pushing a new born in a stroller? Visualize yourself pushing a newborn in a stroller. Use your thoughts to generate positive feelings and start with phrases like: I would love to…I am…Thank you for…etc. This will start to train your brain to think differently and help you reconnect to your desire instead of the lack you are perceiving.
Approaching your fertility journey from a whole-person perspective requires more than good nutrition, supplements and a hyper-focus on physical health. The research shows that our thoughts are so powerful that they can negate the benefits of self-care, exercise, and nutrition. Try to focus on what brings your body, mind, heart and soul into alignment. Gratitude is a great practice to start. If you want to go deeper, or feel like you could use some support, Wildflower Fertility programs focus on you as a whole person (mind, body, heart, and soul), and help you become aware of how your thoughts, emotions, and programming are impacting your fertility outcomes and overall well-being. I will help you identify and release what isn’t aligned with your vision of parenthood to both improve the experience you have on this journey while also increasing your fertility and conception capabilities. As the cherry on top, the benefits and manifestations you’ll experience in my programs will transcend fertility, and support you to uplevel other areas of your life, too. It’s time to reimagine and reclaim your fertility journey! For more information on what program is most aligned with your goals, click here.